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Song for a Dark Girl
Song for a Dark Girl
by Langston Hughes

Song for a Dark Girl Theme of Race

Though slavery was officially ended after the Civil War, injustices against black people continued. This poem centers on one of the most graphic and terrible racial injustices of the post-Civil War era—lynching. "Song for a Dark Girl" is abundantly clear about one thing: in the world of this poem, black people suffer, and a white Jesus doesn't seem to care.

Questions About Race

  1. What is the effect of the word "dark" in the title? Why not "Song for a Black Girl"?
  2. How does this poem talk about race? 
  3. Do you think this poem is accessible to people of all backgrounds? Why or why not?
  4. What's the relationship between the bluesy form of this poem and its racial content? 

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

This poem comments on racism subtly, through language and irony. But Hughes won't hit you over the head with it, because he knows it's more effective to be subtle.

This poem doesn't focus on race as much as people think. It's really about personal grief.

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